15 Best Tent Heaters in 2021

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This is the most informative and useful review of tent heaters you will find on the internet.

I have made it easy to navigate to various types of heaters (small, large, gas, electric, etc.) and provided information on safety and the best type of heater for you.

When I was researching tent heaters, I thought good, clear information was difficult to find. Every review read like a sales page. So I wrote this review to be useful as well as provide honest opinions about the products.

15 Best Tent Heaters in 2021 at outmoreusa.com

Top Picks

Best Backpacking Tent Heater:
APG Butane

What we like:

  • Light (11 oz.)
  • Fits common butane cooking cannister
  • Low cost
See On Amazon

Best Propane Heater:
Mr. Heater Buddy

What we like:

  • Sturdy
  • Powerful
  • Reputable brand
See On Amazon

Is It Safe to Use a Heater in a Tent?

Yes, it is safe to use a heater in a tent as long as you use the proper precautions. Make sure not to put anything too close to the heater or on the heater, like clothes or your sleeping bag. Also, it is not recommended to sleep with the heater on, just use it to warm up before getting into your sleeping bag.

Electric heaters are safest to use in a tent but propane heaters that have been approved for indoor use are safe as well. Carbon monoxide is the biggest concern. Many propane heaters have been thoroughly tested to make sure no carbon monoxide is emitted, but you should always the heater to see if it’s approved for indoor use before using one in a tent.

It’s always good to make sure your tent has some ventilation, whether you’re using a heater or not. You should never sleep inside any air-tight space because the carbon dioxide you emit by breathing will build up inside.

Before purchasing any heater, you should check the safety features. Make sure the heater you buy will shutoff if it is tipped over. If you choose to buy a gas heater, it is highly recommend you buy one with a low oxygen sensor.

If you want to heat your tent without the use of a heater, there are plenty of tips and tricks for that in this article.


Electric vs Gas Tent Heaters

There are various pros and cons to both electric and gas tent heaters. In general, propane powered, gas heaters are often more convenient but, depending on your camping situation, you may prefer to choose an electric heater. This section is meant to help you make that decision.

Electric heaters are safer than gas because they don’t emit any toxic gases (for example, carbon monoxide) and are less likely to start a fire. However, they are not always practical because you might not have an electrical supply.

If you’re not worried about having an electrical supply, electric heaters are a great option. You may be camping in a campground with an electrical hookup or run your own generator.

But for many of us that sleep in a tent, we’d prefer not to rely on electricity. This is where gas heaters are preferrable.

The majority of gas heaters run on propane which is great because they are typically clean burning and produce little carbon monoxide (often not even detectable with sensors). Propane is widely available in handy 1 pound tanks but you can also buy adapters to hook these tent heaters up to 20 pound tanks.

Some gas heaters use kerosene and these are more powerful than propane tent heaters. However, there is concern about the toxic fumes put out by kerosene heaters, one of which is carbon monoxide. So only use kerosene heaters in well ventilated areas.


***The 15 Best Tent Heaters***

Mr. Heater Little Buddy

Mr. Heater Little Buddy tent heater review

Mr. Heater is one of the most trusted brands when it comes to portable heaters and the Little Buddy does not disappoint.

The Little Buddy runs on a 16 oz propane tank and can go for 5 hours on high heat using just one tank of propane.

It puts out 3800 BTUs of heat and is recommended for no more than a 95 square foot space.

It’s possible to buy hoses separately to connect the Little Buddy to a larger propane tank which is convenient for a garage or workshop.

The Little Buddy is approved for indoor use and little to no carbon monoxide emissions detectable. It also features a low oxygen sensor and a tip sensor as safety features.

The downside of the low oxygen sensor is that sometimes it refuses to work at high altitudes so you may consider a different heater if you intend to use it above 7,000 feet.

Specs at a Glance
Price:$$
Rating on Amazon4.5
BTU Output3800
Weight6 pounds
Our Recommendation:
See On Amazon

Texsport Portable Outdoor Heater

Texsport Portable Outdoor tent heater

The Texsport Outdoor Heater is a reasonable option if you want a small, portable and affordable propane tent heater. It weighs only one pound yet still produces over 2800 BTUs of heat.

The heater runs on a standard 16 oz (1 pound) propane tank. The burner is made from stainless steel and the dish is aluminum.

The Texsport heater is a simple device and isn’t flashy or particularly fancy looking, which may be why it comes at such an affordable price.

It features a shutoff valve that cuts the fuel off if the flame goes out, however it does not have a low oxygen sensor or a tip valve. This heater comes with a base that attaches to the bottom of the propane tank for added stability, but I would still describe this heater easy to tip over.

Because it is somewhat easy to tip over but doesn’t have a tipping shutoff feature, this heater is not meant to be used inside a tent.

Specs at a Glance
Price:$
Rating on Amazon4.4
BTU Output2800
Weight1 pound
Our Recommendation:
See On Amazon

Martin Portable Gas Catalytic Heater

Martin Portable Gas Catalytic Heater review

The Martin Catalytic Heater is a great lightweight option that is very fuel efficient. The catalytic technology is flameless and converts more propane into heat than other flame heaters.

It claims to be over 99.9% efficient while flame heaters are around 50%. Because of this efficiency, it can run 7 hours on a single 16 oz (1 pound) propane tank.

This heater is only 4.5 pounds and puts out 3,000 BTUs. This is not enough to warm a large area but is great for smaller areas, or for just sitting in front of it.

This heater has two safety features: it will shutoff if the flame goes out so gas does not continue to escape from the bottle and it also has a tip-over shutoff switch.

Specs at a Glance
Price:$
Rating on Amazon3.9
BTU Output3000
Weight4.5 pounds
Our Recommendation:
See On Amazon

Mr. Heater Buddy

Mr. Heater Buddy tent heater review

**Best Propane Heater**

A step up from the “Little Buddy”, Mr. Heater’s Buddy heater is still compact, lightweight and efficient. You really can’t go wrong with a Mr. Heater.

The Buddy tent heater has two settings – low and high. The low puts out 4,000 BTU while the high kicks out an impressive 9,000 BTUs.

This should be enough to warm a space of about 225 square feet and, running on high, it goes through a standard 16 oz (1 pound) propane tank in about 3 hours. Running on the low setting, on tank can last up to 6 hours.

It has a built-in igniter and can connect to a full size (5-gallon) propane tank with an adaptor (sold separately).

As with the Little Buddy model, the Buddy features a tip sensor as well as a low oxygen sensor, which will turn off the stove if either one is tripped. Because of the low oxygen sensor, these heaters often don’t work at altitudes above 7,000 feet.

The heater is a little heavy for it’s size – weighing in at about 10 pounds. But it’s handle on top makes it a breeze for carrying.

I think the Buddy model is a great heater but if you’re not worried about gas consumption and you want a lot more power, check out Mr. Heater’s Big Buddy.

Specs at a Glance
Price:$$
Rating on Amazon4.7
BTU Output9000
Weight10 pounds
Our Recommendation:
See On Amazon

Camco Olympian Wave

Camco Olympian Wave catalytic heater review

The Olympian Wave heaters run on liquified petrolium (which includes propane). These heaters are more designed for RVs but can be used as tent heaters as well.

The Olympain Waves are available in three sizes, depending on the maximum BTU output: 3000, 6000, or 8000 BTUs. The heaters are recommended to heat 100 (small model) to 230 (large model) square foot areas.

The cool thing about these heaters is that they are catalytic heaters, which are way more efficient than typical gas burning heaters.

The down side is that they don’t just have a spot to screw in a propane cannister like most camping heaters. You will need a gas line hook-up which are standard in RVs but the parts can be purchased to turn any propane gas tank into a gas line.

The heat given off is radiant heat so it is best to sit directly in front of the heater to feel the heat. There is a safety shutoff valve, however the company offers no explanation as to what trips the shutoff valve.

This is a descent heater for an RV but probably not a great option as a tent heater.

Specs at a Glance
Price:$$$
Rating on Amazon4.4
BTU Output3000-8000 (depending on model)
Weight7-14 pounds (depending on model)
Our Recommendation: (best for RVs)
See On Amazon

Mr. Heater Big Buddy

Mr. Heater Big Buddy tent heater review

Another great product from Mr. Heater, the Big Buddy can put out some serious heat and warm even large tents, up to 400 square feet.

This heater comes with three setting to put out 4,000 to 18,000 BTUs. That is a lot of BTUs considering the unit weighs only 12 pounds!

It also comes with the safety features that set Mr. Heater apart – a low oxygen sensor and a tip-over safety shutoff.

As with other Mr. Heater units, though, the low oxygen sensor means it often has trouble in higher altitudes (above 7,000 feet).

specs: 4.4 (125 ratings), current price: $148.88, weight: 12 lbs, 18000 BTUs

Specs at a Glance
Price:$$
Rating on Amazon4.4
BTU Output18000
Weight12 pounds
Our Recommendation:
See On Amazon

Zodi Outback Gear X-40

Zodi Outback Gear X-40 tent heater review

This is a beast of heater meant for large tents, putting out a whopping 40,000 BTUs of heat!

The design is great and has the heating unit outside the tent. It draws air from an input vent, heats it outside the tent, and then pumps the warmed air into the tent via a separate output tube.

Having the heating outside dramatically reduces the risk of carbon monoxide build-up or tipping over. You can also place the input tube inside the tent for increased heating capacity or keep it outside the tent to draw fresh air and increase ventilation.

It does come at a much higher price point than other heaters featured here because this is not just for warming a small family tent.

The Zodi Outback Heater requires a full sized (5-gallon) propane tank to run and a 12-volt power source to run the fan. It comes with a storage bag that it packs up nicely into.

This tent heater is a great option for very large tents or if you’re having an event that needs heating (for example, an outdoor wedding) but is overkill for a weekend family camping trip.

Specs at a Glance
Price:$$
Rating on Amazon2.3
BTU Output40000
WeightHeavy
Our Recommendation: (good for large groups or events)
See On Amazon

Mr. Heater Tank Topper

Mr. Heater Tank Topper propane heater review

If you’re looking for some serious heat to run on a 20 pound tank, the Mr. Heater Tank Topper is a great option.

This heater mounts right on top of the tank and puts out 29,000-45,000 BTUs of heat in all directions. There is an easy adjustment knob to turn up or down the heat as well as a push-button ignition built right in.

This is a popular heater for outdoor constructions projects or while working on your patio. But it also makes a great camping heater if you are able to bring a 20 gallon propane tank with you. This makes it a great option for hunting trips or ice fishing.

Mr. Heater also offers double and triple tank toppers which are worth checking out, but we prefer the 360-degree warmth provided by the single Tank Topper.

As with all Mr. Heater units, the Tank Topper comes with an oxygen depletion sensor as well as a tip-over safety switch.

Specs at a Glance
Price:$$
Rating on Amazon4.7
BTU Output45000
Weight5.5 pounds
Our Recommendation:
See On Amazon

Tooluxe Butane Heater

Tooluxe Butane Heater review

The Tooluxe Butane heater uses a ceramic burner to increase efficiency and the end result is warming your tent quite quickly.

It fits a butane can inside but make sure you have the right kind – the small butane/propane canisters used on camping stoves require an adapter to use with this heater.

The unit weighs about 5 pounds and puts out 5,000 BTUs of heat.

Some claim this heater can double as a burner for cooking, although the company does not advertise it as such.

It has a pressure sensing safety shut-off feature.

Specs at a Glance
Price:$
Rating on Amazon4.2
BTU Output5000
Weight5 pounds
Our Recommendation:
See On Amazon

APG Portable Butane Heater

APG Portable Butane Tent Heater review

**Best Backpacking Tent Heater**

The APG Portable Butane Heater is a super-lightweight option for a tent heater. This little guy weighs in at only 11 ounces (320 grams) and screws onto a cooking stove that many backpackers carry anyway.

The best part is that this tent heater is very cheap and puts out plenty of heat. There is also an adapter available to purchase separately so it’s possible to fit it onto a propane cannister.

There are several downsides to this unit, though. Being lightweight and cheap, the unit is easily bent or dinged up so you have to be careful with it. This is not ideal when taking it backpacking but there are very few other options.

This tent heater does not have any safety features either. So you have to be extremely careful not to tip it over, which is easy to do because it’s a little top-heavy.

I think the APG Portable Butane Heater is the best backpacking tent heater because it is lightweight and fits a common fuel type used by backpackers, not because it’s a particularly great product. All other tent heaters are too bulky and heavy or require a different fuel type.

If you know of another great tent heater for backpacking, let me know in the comments and I’d be happy to review it here.

Specs at a Glance
Price:$
Rating on Amazon4.3
BTU Output45000
Weight11 ounces
Our Recommendation:
See On Amazon

Dura Heat Kerosene Tent Heater

Dura Heat Kerosene Tent Heater review

This tent heater may be the most powerful, yet still (semi)portable heater on this list. This is due to the power of kerosene.

The Dura Heat Kerosene Tent Heater puts out a whopping 23,800 BTUs of heat! Don’t let the photo fool you though, the unit may look small but it is quite hefty.

This heater weighs 27 pounds and is 27 inches tall. That’s why I say it is semi-portable.

It does, however, blast heat 360-degrees around itself and one tank of kerosene lasts 8-12 hours.

The downside is that it runs on kerosene, which is less available than other fuels like propane. Also, the use of kerosene indoors is questionable because of the vapors it produces, despite the Dura Heat claiming that it’s new no-lift heat chamber minimizes odors.

This product is illegal to buy in Massachusetts and is illegal to use in an indoor dwelling in California. I only include it on this list because it is popular and you can find reviews of it elsewhere as a tent heater but I do not recommend this product for heating a tent.

Specs at a Glance
Price:$$
Rating on Amazon4.5
BTU Output23,800
Weight27 pounds
Our Recommendation:
See On Amazon

Sengoku HeatMate

Sengoku HeatMate tent heater review

The Sengoku HeatMate is a powerful beast of a kerosene heater. Kerosene heaters tend to produce more heat than propane fueled heaters and this one is no different, putting out a whopping 10,000 BTUs.

And with a 1.2 gallon (4.5 liter) fuel tank, the HeatMate can heat 380 square feet for 14 hours on one tank.

The unit features an adjustable knob instead of discreet settings like most propane heaters. It has safety grills so you don’t burn yourself and a tip-over shutoff switch.

The downsides are that it is rather big and bulky. It weighs 20 pounds and is about 2 feet tall.

Also, there are many safety concerns with the toxic vapors put out by kerosene stoves. Besides being less available than propane, kerosene produces more carbon monoxide than other types of heaters. With proper ventilation, you’re probably ok but to be on the safe side, I do not recommend this product for heating a tent.

Specs at a Glance
Price:$$
Rating on Amazon4.2
BTU Output10,000
Weight20 pounds
Our Recommendation:
See On Amazon

Stanley Electric Heater

Stanley Electric Heater review

**Best Electric Heater**

Stanley is a great brand and this is a quality heater if you’re looking for an electric tent heater. The best thing about this heater is its solid construction. It is meant to be taken outdoors!

Don’t be fooled by the small size and weight because even though this heater is only 3.8 pounds, it puts out 5100 BTUs of heat! This should be more than enough to heat 165 square feet of space.

Being electric, the downside is that you need electricity, but the upside is that you don’t have worry about any gas emissions.

This heater features a tip-over shutoff switch. The chance of fire is reduced because there is no flame, but you must still be careful not to put flammable materials too close to the heater because a fire is possible.

Specs at a Glance
Price:$$
Rating on Amazon4.3
BTU Output5100
Weight3.8 pounds
Our Recommendation:
See On Amazon

Honeywell 360-Degree Electric Tent Heater

Honeywell 360-Degree Electric Tent Heater review

The Honeywell 360-degree heater is a cool option because it puts heat out in all directions. With this heater, you might find the whole family sitting around it on a cold night just like a campfire!

This is a rather small unit so if you’re using it, you might want to sit close. At only 9″ tall and 3 pounds, it’s already very pack-able and portable. But the top handle is a convenient feature nevertheless.

It puts out 1232 BTUs of heat and runs on 1500 watts. It claims to be effective for a 443 square foot area (this seems like an overestimate to me).

Safety features include a tip-over shutoff switch and over-heat shutoff.

As with all electric heaters, the downside is that you need a stable source of electricity. If have that, and you want a small, portable heater, the Honeywell 360-Degree Electric Tent Heater is a pretty good option.

Specs at a Glance
Price:$
Rating on Amazon4.3
BTU Output1232
Weight3 pounds
Our Recommendation:
See On Amazon

Lasko MyHeat Heater

Lasko MyHeat Heater mini tent heater review

The Lasko MyHeat Heater is a tiny little guy that doesn’t require a huge amount of electricity. This is a good option if you are trying to run it off a portable battery or just need something really small to give your tent a little boost of heat.

It only uses 200-watts and puts out 682 BTUs of heat. This amount is meant to be more of a personal heater rather than an room heater, so don’t expect it to warm any sizable area. Still, it’s a nice little unit to snuggle up next to before bed on a cold night.

The size of this unit makes it very convenient to take on any trip. At only 6″ tall, it’s easy to bring it along anywhere.

Best of all, this heater is cheap, coming in at a little over $20.

It features overheat protection so it will shutoff automatically when it gets too hot.

Specs at a Glance
Price:$
Rating on Amazon4.4
BTU Output632
Weight~1 pound
Our Recommendation: (for personal use)
See On Amazon

Final Thoughts

Tent heaters can bring comfort to winter camping or at least extend your camping season later into the fall and earlier in the spring.

The needs for heat output, weight, or fuel type are very different depending on how you camp.

Nevertheless, I have chosen the best tent heaters here to fit any type of camping. If you didn’t find the right tent heater here, then it doesn’t exist.

Don’t want to use a tent heater? Have you considered a wood burning stove? Yes, you can have a stove in a tent as long you get a tent with a stove jack! Find the best ones here.

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